NOBTS Adrian Rogers center lifts expository preaching
In partnership with the late Adrian Rogers' proclamation ministry Love Worth Finding, the NOBTS center will provide resources and present conferences and lectureships to encourage and equip students and pastors.
The center's inaugural "Empowering the Pulpit" preaching conference, Jan. 29-31, will feature leading expository preachers Jim Shaddix and Robert Smith Jr.
The dedication took place on Rogers' birthday; he died in 2005 at the age of 74.
Chuck Kelley, NOBTS president in opening remarks, noted the significance of naming the center after Rogers, an NOBTS alumnus.
"Adrian Rogers went on from [this] seminary to become one of the greatest pastors in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, a defining pastor of his generation," Kelley said. "We are very excited about starting something that will take new students to the heart of what made this man so impactful and so influential -- and this is his preaching ministry, a ministry of God's Word."
A three-term SBC president, Rogers led the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church from 9,000 members to 29,000 during his 33 years as pastor. Love Worth Finding Ministries, founded by Rogers in 1987, provides sermon outlines, podcasts, articles and other resources for preaching.
Steve Rogers, son of Adrian Rogers, was present for a portion of the dedication service and the luncheon that followed despite flight scheduling complications due to Hurricane Irma.
"We're excited about this; we're behind it," Rogers told NOBTS administrators and faculty on behalf of the Rogers family. "What we're interested in is ongoing ministry and the next generation of pastors, worship leaders and youth ministers."
Rogers spoke of the "thousands and thousands of hours" he and his brother David spent reviewing 4,000 of his father's recorded sermons -- originally preserved on cassette tapes and now digitized -- and how it underscored for them their father's commitment to expository preaching.
"For 12 years I've immersed myself in my dad's pastor training curriculum," Steve Rogers said. "It's an incredible laboratory for anybody that wants to study expository preaching."
Adam Hughes, director of the center and NOBTS dean of the chapel, said Rogers modeled faithfulness to God's Word, a love for the church and a heart for reaching the lost.
"Our mission ... is preparing a rising generation of men who are answering God's call for excellence in expository preaching," Hughes said. "We want to make sure students are trained and resourced to serve the church. We want to resource and equip pastors already on the field."
In an expository sermon, Hughes said, the God-intended meaning, structure and emphasis of the biblical text drives the main points as well as the outline and thrust of the sermon, which is then proclaimed to hearers.
Hughes said Rogers' passion for the lost and his understanding of the sufficiency and infallibility of God's Word is "desperately needed today," adding that the center's work would complement the classroom.
Bob Sorrell, chairman of the board of Love Worth Finding, recounted that the ministry grew out of a demand for Rogers' sermons.
"Adrian never wanted to be a TV preacher," Sorrell said. "But he permitted his sermons to be recorded on cassette and kept at a closet in the church where members could pick them up.... It continued to grow from there and grew into an organization."
Cary Vaughn, chief executive officer of Love Worth Finding, said Rogers' insistence that a Gospel invitation be given at every church event taught him to model that commitment in his own ministry. Rogers' deepest desire, Vaughn said, was to see others come to faith in Christ.
"Let the one takeaway be that if Adrian Rogers were here today, he would say ... 'Come to Jesus.'"
Vaughn said Love Worth Finding broadcasts in 196 countries and is tied to 3,000 radio outlets, 10,500 TV outlets and has the potential to broadcast into 700 million homes worldwide.
In chapel, Kelley recounted Rogers' beginnings as an NOBTS student and tied Rogers' accomplishments and influence, including his pivotal role in the Conservative Resurgence, to his commitment to Scripture.
"Everything good that happened in Adrian Rogers' life flowed out of his commitment to teach his people the Word of God," Kelley said.